Beads 20 (2008)
Heirloom Beads of the Kachin and Naga, by Barbie Campbell Cole
The heirloom beads of the Kachin and Naga – known respectively as khaji and deo moni – were discussed at length in British-colonial literature, but remained unidentified until the present day. The homelands of the Kachin and Naga straddle the northern Burma/Northeast India frontier. Safe from the great civilizations which rose and fell in the plains, the cultures of these hill peoples remained relatively intact until the arrival of the colonial British in the 1830s. The author’s research reveals that khaji and deo moni are orange Indo-Pacific beads of a type traded from southeast India – probably Karaikadu – between 200 B.C. and A.D. 200. They were found by the Kachin and Naga in ancient graves.
Beads from the Great White Arabia: A Mid-19th-Century American Steamboat, by Karlis Karklins and David Henneberg
Loaded with 200 tons of goods heading for Omaha, Nebraska, and Sioux City and Council Bluffs, Iowa, the steamboat Great White Arabia hit a snag and sank near Kansas City in 1856. In 1989, a group of salvors excavated the wreck and recovered almost the entire cargo which was in a remarkable state of preservation. Among the finds were several million glass seed beads, as well as several hundred blown specimens in various shapes, sizes, and colors, some of which formed the heads of fancy stickpins. Due to their fragility, blown beads are seldom found in archaeological contexts so the Arabia specimens are especially significant and comprise the largest collection of such beads found at a North American site. Coming from a tightly dated context, the beads reveal exactly what was being brought to a specific area of the American frontier in the mid-1850s.
Glass Beads from the Belbek IV Cemetery, Southwestern Crimea, by Ekaterina Stolyarova
Situated in the southwestern region of the Crimea, the Belbek IV cemetery was utilized for much of the first three centuries of the common era. A comparison of the morphological and technological characteristics of a select sample of the recovered glass beads has provided clues concerning their origins; the majority of the beads seem to have been manufactured in accordance with Syrian glassmaking traditions, a quarter belong to the Egyptian school of glassblowing, while just a little over one per cent were manufactured in Roman workshops. Judging from their burial contexts, it appears that beads in Late Scythian costume were used as buttons, amulets, and pendants, as well as in the preparation of necklaces and embroidery.